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2014: Kids might be the future, but the present is bleak

Dec 31, 2014

South Asia enters the new year, 2015, with a backlog of unfinished work related to providing a healthy future for its children.

South Asian Kids

New Delhi: South Asia is home to the largest number of stunted children in the world and glaring inequalities related to the health and well-being of children are staring at the world’s largest populated region, despite progress made in the last 25 years, says a report by UNICEF released in September, 2014. The report was published to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

The report highlights that approximately 8 million children below the age of one are not immunized and more than 45 percent of girls marry before the age of 18, and 18 percent marry before age 15. The study also pointed out that widespread poverty and disparities have prevented millions of children in South Asia from living a life of dignity and reaching their latent potential.

Karin Hulshof, Regional Director for UNICEF in South Asia, stated that with the second highest number of maternal deaths worldwide, South Asia continued to be one of the riskiest places in the world to become pregnant or for giving birth. He added that more than 2 million children in the region die from preventable causes before their fifth birthday ever year and more than 35 percent of the region's children were suffering from chronic malnutrition.

Another UNICEF study, the State of the World's Children-2014 revealing the poor status of newborns in the South Asian region, said that the poorest households have the lowest chances of being breastfed within the first hour of birth when compared to newborns from any other wealth quintile across all regions.

Even as the developing countries like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are looking forward to their children for seeking a bright future, global reports are not unfortunately painting a very promising image. Various governments in the region would be required to work towards filling the existing gaps in making their respective countries a warm home for their children.

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